New York city is such a HUGE place with SO much to do! I have compiled some lists of the top 5’s (in my opinion) for free, on a budget, overall, shopping, what not to do and general tips when visiting the Big Apple. Enjoy! 🙂
TOP 5 FREE THINGS TO DO:
1. Go to “High Line” which is a huge rooftop garden walk. Beautiful 🙂
2. Central Park.. Hours of fun just walking, playing on the playground, people watching. Bliss!
3. Find out when there are bands playing in Central Park, take a picnic blanket and sit outside listening to the music.. for free!
4. Pick a TV show that you like and sign up to be in the audience. There are plenty around New York or surrounding cities. A great experience whilst in the USA!
5. Take the Subway to Brooklyn and explore a much more relaxed city. Prospect Park and the surroundings are amazing!
TOP 5 CHEAP THINGS TO DO:
1. Row a boat in Central Park. For 2 people it is $12 for the hour. Cheap fun!
2. Hire a Citibike. There are docks all over Manhattan and is $10 for 24 hours.
3. Go to a show at Comedy Cellar. It is only $12 or $14 depending on which show and is 100% entertainment. Sign up that day for one of the shows or go & try your luck in the standby line.
4. Go around the city tipping mimes, buskers and beggars and see what fun you can have! Some beggars have hilarious signs you can also hold for a photo, the mimes will do a little performance and the buskers might do something special for you. There is so much competition in this big city that everybody will try and be unique!
5. For $17 you can take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Not only do you get to see her & go to 2 islands, but the view of the city as you get further out is stunning. Its like 2 for the price of 1!
TOP 5 OVERALL TO-DO’S:
1. Broadway show.. We saw Rock of Ages and it was the BEST $100 I ever spent & 3 hours of 100% entertainment! I’d say any show on Broadway is excellent, but I definitely recommend Rock of Ages.
2. Take a bus to Six Flags Amusement Park in New Jersey. It was $65 for the return bus fare (around 1.5 hours each way) and entry to the park. Go on the tallest Rollercoaster in the world & be a kid again for a day!
3. Go to the top of the Empire State Building. Amazing views of Manhattan! It is around $27 entry and then another $17 to go the extra floors to the very top. Honestly, I would suggest not worrying about going to the top and just to the 82nd floor. It is outdoors whereas the top is inside glass.
4. Go to a baseball game. I would have preferred basketball, but it wasn’t the season, so we went to a Yankees game instead. Even if you detest the sport the atmosphere is awesome with heaps of sing-alongs and chants to keep you involved.
5. Again, rowing a boat in Central Park! Make sure it’s a nice, sunny day and row around the beautiful lakes. We even saw some turtles sun-baking on rocks!
TOP 5 TIPS:
1. Always check the weather before you leave your hotel/hostel. I’m not sure if this applies in other seasons, but in summer what it looks like out the window can be very deceptive!
2. If you have a Smartphone get the NYC Subway app. Saves you so much time and a lot of getting lost. Also its worth buying the 7 day Subway unlimited card for $30. You will use it a lot!
3. For cheap same-day Broadway tickets go to TKTS on the edge of Times Square to find out which have been discounted for that night. Some are up to 60% off!
4. Be sure to check your bill whenever you dine/drink out that the gratuity (tips) hasn’t already been added. Some places, especially touristy places already add the tip, so be sure you aren’t double tipping!
5. In peak seasons think about what day it is when you go somewhere. Tues, Wed, Thurs are the best days to go to touristy places such as Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Six Flags theme park, row boats in Central Park. Unless of course you like queuing for hours on end!
TOP 5 SHOPPING TIPS/SPOTS:
1. 34th Street. Go to the HUGE Victorias Secret, Foot Locker and H&M
2. Don’t forget that some places don’t add tax until you checkout. Be sure to ask so you know what to expect to pay.
3. Union Square has some great outlet stores. Some you really need to sift through, but if you have the time you’ll get the bargains!
4. If you can get to Tanger Outlets on Long Island its definitely worth a visit for discounted designer clothes, sports wear, shoes & more
5. Times Square has a couple of huge department stores that are still reasonably priced. Macy’s is the biggest store in the world! You also have Foot Locker, Forever 21, Billabong and more.
TOP 5 BIGGEST RIP-OFFS:
1. Eating anywhere in Times Square. Overpriced and shit quality food!
2. Strip Clubs… $17 for a glass of wine, $20 entry fee & crappy strippers!
3. The beer at the Yankees game was minimum $11 per cup! No way to avoid this though unless you want to sit through the game sober.
4. The bike riding guys who take you around Central Park. We saw some that cost $5 per minute!! Obviously we didn’t do this, but we saw MANY people who did. If you MUST experience this then wait until you see the guy who does it for $2 per minute. Still a rip-off, but not as much as $5.
5. The “original” Manhattan Hooters. I’ve been to Hooters in Anaheim and Las Vegas and they were such a fun experience! The Manhattan Hooters was boring, the food was disgusting and the waitresses were not only flat chested, but weren’t overly great servers either.
*Prices may have changed – published in 2013